. Why Strike? With prices high and living standards low, Our times are like what our grandparents knew. They fought world war; we slave for war abroad And soon will labor through retirement too. We export energy but can’t afford To heat our homes; we’re tired of interference And more surveillance of exhausted lives And freedom’s loss and pensions’ disappearance To make France globally competitive. We strike. One train in five may run, main roads Are blocked, harbors and airports slowed, the streets Aswarm with demonstrators. Schools are closed. We lost the fight for low-cost motor fuel, But we can make Macron and business pay. French commerce will move slow as escargots Until frustrated workers earn fair play. A working mother’s childbirth leave must count As labor toward a pension in retirement; These students who start work with us next June Must not face forty-three years toil requirement. The government ought to withdraw this law And burden plunderers to fund our system; We’ll have full pensions at age sixty-two Despite police and tear gas despotism. Is this resistance striking as it might Against real evils of existing blight? Some hope it may, but most cooperate With unions that adore the welfare state; Decreasing benefits is what they hate. Retirement in good health! Long live the strike! Don’t work us all to death! Long live the strike! . Macron: the President of France escargots: snails (popular word for traffic stoppages caused by strikers) . . Margaret Coats lives in California. She holds a Ph.D. in English and American Literature and Language from Harvard University. She has retired from a career of teaching literature, languages, and writing that included considerable work in homeschooling for her own family and others.